Internet Reading Club: April’s Best Science, Technology, and Health Journalism

Must-reads from around the web.

Written by ADRIENNE LAFRANCE

May 2, 2016

Original article on TheAtlantic.com

 

There’s too much good stuff to read on the list this month! Who has time for an introduction? (For even more phenomenal stories, check out the lists fromJanuary, February, and March.)

* * *

The Dark Side of Guardian Comments

Becky Gardiner, Mahana Mansfield, Ian Anderson, Josh Holder, Daan Louter and Monica Ulmanu | The Guardian

New research into our own comment threads provides the first quantitative evidence for what female journalists have long suspected: that articles written by women attract more abuse and dismissive trolling than those written by men, regardless of what the article is about.

Although the majority of our regular opinion writers are white men, we found that those who experienced the highest levels of abuse and dismissive trolling were not. The 10 regular writers who got the most abuse were eight women (four white and four non-white) and two black men. Two of the women and one of the men were gay. And of the eight women in the “top 10”, one was Muslim and one Jewish.

And the 10 regular writers who got the least abuse? All men.

* * *

The Secret Rules of the Internet
Catherine Buni and Soraya Chemaly | The Verge

Today, YouTube’s billion-plus users upload 400 hours of video every minute. Every hour, Instagram users generate 146 million “likes” and Twitter users send 21 million tweets. Last August, Mark Zuckerberg posted on Facebook that the site had passed “an important milestone: For the first time ever, one billion people used Facebook in a single day.”

The moderators of these platforms — perched uneasily at the intersection of corporate profits, social responsibility, and human rights — have a powerful impact on free speech, government dissent, the shaping of social norms, user safety, and the meaning of privacy. What flagged content should be removed? Who decides what stays and why? What constitutes newsworthiness? Threat? Harm? When should law enforcement be involved?

While public debates rage about government censorship and free speech on college campuses, customer content management constitutes the quiet transnational transfer of free-speech decisions to the private, corporately managed corners of the internet where people weigh competing values in hidden and proprietary ways. Moderation, explains Microsoft researcher Kate Crawford, is “a profoundly human decision-making process about what constitutes appropriate speech in the public domain.”

* * *

Inky the Octopus Escapes From a New Zealand Aquarium
Dan Bilefsky | The New York Times

Octopus tracks suggest he then scampered eight feet across the floor and slid down a 164-foot-long drainpipe that dropped him into Hawke’s Bay, on the east coast of North Island, according to reports in New Zealand’s news media.

The aquarium’s keepers noticed the escape when they came to work and discovered that Inky was not in his tank. A less independence-minded octopus, Blotchy, remained behind.

The aquarium’s manager, Rob Yarrall, told Radio New Zealand that employees had searched the aquarium’s pipes after discovering Inky’s trail, to no avail.

continue-reading-button